Archive for category Infrastructure 2.0
EMC World 2010 was the first enterprise show of SiliconANGLE’s theCUBE. Over the last 3 years, theCUBE has interviewed more than 1,000 guests at dozens of shows; EMC World is one of the most popular programs every year. EMC has expanded far beyond storage to become a “federation” of companies in the EMC family: EMC, VMware and the newly launched Pivotal. The live broadcast schedule for theCUBE at EMC World will be a full 3 days, Monday May 6 – Wednesday May 8, 10am – 5pm Pacific. Guests include many CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, thought leaders and end-users from a broad spectrum of topics. Coverage this year will include spotlights focusing on the disruptive and growth opportunities for EMC and its ecosystem. For those attending EMC World in person – our broadcast location is part of EMC SQUARE, conveniently located outside of the solutions pavilion.
I’d like to explore the topic of how system and storage architectures are changing and the impact this will have on application delivery and organizational productivity.
Allow me to put forth the following premise:
Today’s enterprise IT infrastructure limits application value.
What does that mean? To answer this, let’s first explore the notion of value. The value IT brings to an organization flows directly from the application to the business and is measured in terms of the productivity of the organization. Infrastructure in-and-of itself delivers no direct value; however the applications, which run on infrastructure directly affect business value. Value comes in many forms but at the highest level it’s about increasing revenue and/or cutting costs; and ultimately delivering bottom line profits.
Enterprise IT departments are faced with the burden of keeping costs down while meeting the increasing requirements of the business. Administrators become experts on coping with the complexities of configurations rather than supporting new initiatives. Hyperscale data centers can manage many orders of magnitude more infrastructure with the same staff; Facebook manages 20,000 servers per technician. One path towards simplifying operations by moving to an IT as a Service model is to use converged infrastructure. Wikibon has predicted a steep growth in the adoption of converged infrastructure (see the market forecast); recent data shows that the spectrum of solutions is already selling over $1B in 2Q12. The move from deploying IT silos to convergence requires adjustments in staffing, tools and business processes and often must fight against organizational inertia.
Flash competitors are aggressively jockeying for position as the market heats up. It’s a tale of two styles. On the one hand, EMC’s entrance into the all-flash array market targets traditional IT segments. It will both pressure competitive offerings and its own high-end block storage business. EMC is positioning to cannibalize its own base before others cut too deep into the EMC muscle; but it must walk a fine line. At the other end of the spectrum, Fusion-io is uniquely positioned to serve the hyperscale market and currently stands alone with a software-led strategy that leverages atomic writes and delivers new value to database workloads.
“The storage needs of business and application owners are simple: Give me storage when I need it. Provide services appropriate for my application in the most cost-effective manner. Charge me for what I use, don’t charge me for unnecessary waste.
Service-oriented storage has the potential to meet business needs by inherently offering the ability to:
- Provision storage capacity and function that meets application requirements based on performance, scalability, availability, cost and security needs of the business.
With its recent announcement, VCE is showing the world that it is more than a solution of parts from the parent companies (Cisco, EMC, VMware and Intel). VCE’s revenue is now tracking over $1B per year thanks to Q4 2012 being over $250M and according to industry trackers, is the top selling converged infrastructure solution. The most notable piece of VCE’s recent announcement is that for the first time, the company is bringing a software product to market that was developed in-house – VCE Vision Intelligent Operations which will start shipping with all Vblocks in April 2013. First of all, the creation of a new software line is a proof point that the company is not a short-term project; despite the coopetition between parent companies, the bottom line is that VCE provides revenue and strategic value in how EMC and Cisco bring data center solutions to the market. At its core, VCE Vision software helps deliver on the mission of the company, which is to help simplify infrastructure for virtualized environments by moving from siloed components to management at the rack level. Managing by the rack rather than the component is how hyperscale companies manage their environments at much lower operational costs (see Rack Level Architectures and Hyperscale Operations). Virtualization administrators will now manage a “Vblock” item directly in vCenter, so the internal components become invisible, allowing for much less day-to-day touching of the solution.
Amazon’s aggressive push into the traditional enterprise space will place pressure on CIOs and enterprise IT suppliers alike. To release this pressure, CIOs must treat AWS as another tool in their bag, embrace the public cloud generally and help their organizations understand the right strategic fit for public cloud services; balancing convenience with compliance. Meanwhile, technology suppliers must differentiate by focusing on best-of-breed services, industry-specific capabilities and delivering business value deep within regions around the globe.
Last weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a report citing sources that claim Amazon’s AWS business exceeded $2B in 2012 and will generate $3.8B in 2013, an 81% growth rate. The numbers are getting crazy. Some of these same and other sources have the AWS market (unclear what this means) hitting $38B by 2015 and AWS revenue reaching $20B by the end of the decade. The Journal article cited comments from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claiming that AWS can be at least as large as the company’s retail business. By comparison, Amazon’s retail operation is expected to grow 25% this year to $73.6B.
As data is continuously collected and created, companies have difficulty just storing it, missing any opportunity to leverage the information. The wave of big data has the potential to flip the burden of data management into the opportunity of new value creation. Yesterday’s solutions don’t accomplish this today and will be even less effective tomorrow.
While the volume of data has grown exponentially over the last few decades, the fundamental and underlying technology on which we store data hasn’t. Sure, we’ve had improvements in densities (to store more data) and connectivity (to provide better access to data), but the pace of data growth has overwhelmed the benefits of these technological advancements.
Software Defined Networking (SDN) dominates networking industry conversation today. The $1B+ acquisition of Nicira by VMware got everyone’s attention. Big Switch also received good buzz at the launch of its open ecosystem. While it is Wikibon’s advice that enterprise CIOs shouldn’t wait for the market to mature more before trying to jump into an SDN solution, one of the underpinnings of future solutions is available today. OpenFlow (which is only a piece of the SDN story) requires a controller and OpenFlow enabled switches. According to the SDN Central website, the following vendors are currently shipping OpenFlow-enabled switches: